Bill Burke, the current director of security at the Metropolitan Transit System, has been named chief of police for the agency. This new position gives MTS greater access to jurisdictional crime information and enhances its role with police departments in the investigation and prevention of crime on the MTS trolley and bus network.
“This is significant for MTS in that it makes it easier for us to coordinate with law enforcement agencies in our service territory,” says Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer. “Additionally, this position allows MTS to apply for state and federal transportation law enforcement and Homeland Security grants that are very important to all San Diego residents. The grants will equip MTS with the most up-to-date security systems.”
MTS will include other local agencies as participants in these grant requests and encourage increased multi-agency transportation-related training and information sharing.
Additionally, the chief of police position allows MTS access to crime reports and other statistics that will help the MTS keep the system safe. Burke will continue to represent the interests of MTS at local law enforcement roundtable and strategy meetings.
MTS contracts with Heritage Security to provide about 150 security officers to patrol MTS property. MTS also employs 35 Code Compliance Inspectors who check for proper fares, maintain a safe environment at transit stations and issue citations. These officers are managed by Burke.
Local police and the sheriff’s department will continue to take the lead in criminal investigations on MTS property with the support of MTS personnel and surveillance cameras.
Burke joined MTS in December 2001 and under his direction MTS has achieved one of the lowest crime rates of all public transit systems in the country. There are fewer than 0.5 serious crime incidents per 100,000 riders on the trolley.
Prior to joining MTS, Burke was chief of police at various agencies from 1979 to 1997, culminating as chief of police of Cook County, Illinois. There, he oversaw 625 employees, including 539 sworn officers. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, has a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and Master’s degree from Governors State University.
Every day more than 250,000 trips are taken aboard the MTS fleet of vehicles, which includes 535 fixed-route buses, 144 paratransit buses and 130 rail cars. MTS operates more than 80 bus routes and 53 miles of light rail in San Diego County. For information on fares, routes, and schedules, or to plan a trip, visit www.sdmts.com.